Wednesday, 5 December 2012


I went to the Melbourne Bead Show a couple of weekends ago and spent far too much on garnet beads and pearls. Once I got home with my new treasurers I was inspired to make myself some new necklaces. I really wanted to string some pearls to go with my Cranach choker but I found I didn't quite have enough of the right size to make a string as long as I wanted. So I compromised and made some necklaces I'm quite happy with.

I had already strung a garnet and pearl necklace, and a sodalite and pearl necklace a couple of years ago (two on left). I quite liked these because I used small pearl spacers between the garnets and sodalite. I made these before I knew that knotting the string between the pearls stopped them rubbing together and breaking. Since I was out of pearl spacers I decided to make some similar necklaces I could wear as bracelets if I wanted. I used a three garnets, one pearl pattern and tied the string between each stone. I also used a goldish magnetic clasp that I had lying around. This turned out to be a mistake as I now cannot wear any other metallic necklace or earrings with this, as the clasp tries to attach to everything!

The new necklace (front) and the old necklace (back)

Next up was the sodalite necklace. I've used the last of my sodalite stock making a silver hairclip (it jingles nicely) so I substituted what I think might be apatite. The blue is slightly darker but still looks nice. As I didn't have much apatite, I went with three pearls and one apatite bead pattern. I re-used an old cylinder screw clasp as I didn't want to have another necklace that wants to bond to everything!

The new necklace (front) and old necklace (back)

I also have a small stockpile of stone beads that I bought online on a whim many years ago. I got some (probably man-made) chrysocolla type beads from a craft shop last time I visited America and I thought they'd be perfect for a leaf shaped (agate?) pendant bead. I'm really happy with how this one turned out. I can't stop stroking the agate when I wear it as the finish is so very smooth.

Chrysocolla, pearl and agate necklace.

The final necklace I made was actually inspired by a medieval portrait of a Woman by Lorenzo Costa (1460-1535). The original necklace appears to be made of pearls (or tapered gold cylinders) and onyx (or silver beads). It joins just before her neckline and splits off into two sections. This could end as a beaded tassel but I prefer to interpret it as a loop. Mostly because that makes stringing my beads MUCH easier.

Detail of a Portrait of a Woman by Lorenzo Costa.

My necklace is made of onyx and light pink pearls. It has two central focal beads, both onyx, and a simple hook and loop goldish clasp. Though I'm pleased with how this turned out, the lower focal bead is a little too large and it's weight pulls the loop into more of an oval than the circle I wanted. The angles suite the portrait though.

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